Share article:
Share article:

UZ Gent’s new 3D bone scan is ‘a game changer’

Professor Jans places a patient in the scanner. © UZ Gent

A team of radiologists at the Ghent university hospital has achieved a world first by creating three-dimensional CT bone scan images without using dangerous radiation.

There are two main types of scanner used in medicine: CT and MRI.

MRI scanners use harmless radio waves, but are more useful for scans involving soft tissue rather than bones.

The CT (or CAT) scan is better for scanning solid structures like bones, but it uses X-rays, which have dangers of their own.

Working together with the Dutch software company MRIguidance, the team spent three years working to achieve a sort of hybrid of the two – the patient is subjected only to the benign MRI waves, while the software is able to convert those scans into CT-quality images.

The breakthrough earned the researchers the cover of the journal Radiology, where the research was published.

Thanks to the Dutch software, we can use artificial intelligence to convert MRI images of bones into accurate CT images in 3D in an hour and a half,” explained Lennart Jans, professor of radiology at UZ Gent, who has claimed an international first.

For the patient, all that is required is for them to stay in the MRI scanner for an extra four minutes.

“The big advantage of this new technology is that you no longer need a traditional CT scan and that harmful radiation is not required,” Prof. Jans told De Tijd. Another advantage is that the modified scan allows top quality images of both bones and soft tissue, including muscles and tendons.

Every year, two million CT scans are carried out on patients in Belgium, each one carrying the risk of causing cancer. For that reason, doctors tend not to prescribe a CT scan unless absolutely necessary, even in cases of bone injuries, where they have real utility.

The result is that we miss important information needed for a good diagnosis and correct treatment,” he said. “This new technique transcends the drawbacks of the existing scans and is a game changer.”

The technique has been tested in recent months at UZ Gent in patients with inflammatory rheumatism of the sacral joints, where the hips join the spine, a condition known as ankylosing spondylitis.

Surgeons can now save time in surgery planning, and patients only have to come to the hospital once,” Prof. Jans said. “This is also a saving for health insurance. Within a few years this technology will become the standard.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Mayor wants to close two Brussels bars where alleged sexual assaults took place
Ixelles' Mayor Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo) said that he’d like to close the two bars that employed a man accused of raping multiple patrons, ...
‘Untenable’: Mayor says situation at Brussels North station is out of control
The situation at Brussels North Station is no longer tenable, Schaerbeek's mayor Cécile Jodogne (Défi) says. Drug dealing, homelessness, ...
Suicide second-leading cause of death among European youth
Suicide is the number two killer among young people living in Europe, a recent Unicef report on the state of their mental health found. The ...
‘Too little, too late’: Brussels mayors criticise CST implementation
After a two week delay, the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will become mandatory in several situations in Brussels from today (Friday). Some mayors blame a ...
Sciensano expert warns of rising Covid-19 cases this winter
The return of colder weather and the relaxing of health measures are giving rise to new Covid-19 contaminations and hospitalisations around Belgium, ...
Hospital food is making you sick, Belgian study shows
Eating hospital meals results in a measurable decline in health, according to a report from the Flemish television network VTM, which paints a ...
Belgium in Brief: Supply Issues
There are few things more jarring than walking into a store and finding that the shelves are empty, be that partially or otherwise. One thing ...
Stolen Magritte painting on display for first time in ten years
Surrealist painter René Magritte's work "Olympia", which made headlines across the world when it was stolen from a museum in Belgium in 2009, will be ...
Brussels airport pilots ’15 minute’ PCR test
Brussels Airport has announced that it will soon begin a trial of an ultra-fast PCR test able to detect Covid-19 in 15 minutes, a far faster ...
Over 1,000 demonstrators march in Brussels following sexual assault allegations
Around 1,300 people gathered in Ixelles on Thursday night to march against sexual violence, according to reporting from Bruzz. The march was ...
Covid Safe Ticket mandatory in Brussels, but no fines yet
The Brussels-Capital Region will expand the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) from today (Friday), but it will take a few days before rule-breakers ...
Belgium hosts ‘farewell party’ for Merkel today
Angela Merkel will be in Belgium on Friday for an official visit as a symbolic "farewell" before leaving her position as German Chancellor after 16 ...